256196 HIV risk perceptions among adolescents attending family planning clinics: An integrated perspective

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ruth Buzi, PhD , Population Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Peggy B. Smith, PhD , Population Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Maxine Epstein, Dr PH , Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston, Houston
Gabrielle Novello, BA , Population Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
This study assessed individual, interpersonal and contextual/community factors as predictors of HIV risk perception. A total of 426 female adolescents attending family planning clinics took part in this study. The majority, 60.1% were African American and 39.9% were Hispanic. The results indicated that the majority of participants perceived themselves to be at no or low risk for contracting HIV. Individual, interpersonal as well as contextual/community factors correlated with HIV risk perception in the study. Adolescents who perceived themselves to be at no or low risk were more likely to be Hispanic, be married and had children. They also felt that they can control situations where they have to refuse sex or insist on condom use, had more frequent communication with sexual partners about condom use and held perceptions that peer norms support condom use. The findings in this study have important implications for risk reduction education for female adolescents. An integrated perspective allows an understanding of how the community environment affects the adolescents' ability to utilize personal and relationship strengths that can promote healthy development. Adolescents who live in communities where the HIV viral load is high, or interact with partners from high risk networks, have to be more cautious as this increases their vulnerability for HIV exposure. It would be essential to help adolescents integrate this knowledge and strengthen their personal skills to avoid risk despite the various pressures that they experience in their life.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe sexual risk behaviors among female adolescents Describe factors that impact HIV risk perception among female adolescents Discuss the importance of using an integrated approach focusing on individual, interpersonal and contextual/community factors in understanding HIV risk perception among adolescents Discuss implications for risk reduction education for female adolescents

Keywords: Adolescents, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in the area of adolescent sexual health for almost 20 years. I was the lead researcher on this project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.